Goodreads ~ Romance is supposed to be the spice of life. But Maxie Pierce is so done with bad relationships - well, almost. She just has to get rid of the latest loser, Roberto. Besides, she has more important things to worry about. Her daddy, Texas Jack Pierce, king of the chili cook-off circuit, has been missing for nearly six weeks now. In his place, she must team up with her irritating half sister, Sylvia, to promote the family business at the Taos Chili Showdown, to be judged by celebrity chef Carter Donnelly.
But when Maxie discovers Roberto’s body in the chef’s trailer - only hours after publicly breaking up with him while wearing a giant red chili pepper costume - she suddenly finds she’s the one in the spotlight as the police pepper her with questions. Now this Chili Chick needs to kick up the search to catch the real killer and get back to finding her father.
Maxie recently broke up with her boyfriend in Chicago after he cleaned out her bank account and put her thousands of dollars in debt. Her father, who sold spices in a travelling chili cook-off circuit, disappeared six weeks ago so she catches up with the Taos Chili Showdown in New Mexico to try to find out what happened to her father. She has to work with her half-sister, Sylvia, who she doesn't get along with (they have the same father), to keep running the family business.
Celebrity chef Carter Donnelly is at the Showdown to promote it and himself. It's a surprise when Roberto, one of the show's roadies, is found dead in Carter's RV. Maxie had had one date with Roberto but wasn't interested in him and had had a fight with him that morning. Plus it turns out Sylvia had a history with him and is arrested for his murder. As much as she doesn't like Sylvia, Maxie doesn't think she killed Roberto and she sets out to find out who did.
This is the first in the Chili Cook-Off Mystery Series by this author. It is written in first person perspective in Maxie's voice. I liked Maxie well enough but thought Sylvia was too bitter and nasty. It's a "cozy mystery" so there is no swearing, violence or adult activity. I thought story and writing were okay and I liked it enough to read the next one in the series.